Oxygen shortage in Kasaragod, other places being addressed

PESO takes steps to augment production and supply

Responding to the steep rise in demand for medical oxygen in the State, steps have been taken to augment the production and supply of gaseous oxygen, says R. Venugopal, Deputy Chief Controller of the Petroleum and Explosives Safety Organisation (PESO) and nodal officer for supplying oxygen to Kerala and Lakshadweep.

To address the scarcity of filled oxygen cylinders in Kasaragod, an air separation unit (ASU) plant lying defunct since 2015 at Vattaparambu in Malappuram’s Marakkara panchayat was reopened on Tuesday and the first load of 114 cylinders was dispatched to Kasaragod. The revamped plant can produce oxygen at the rate of 100 metre cube per hour (m3h) and a maximum of 300 cylinders a day.

The ASU plant at Veli in Thiruvananthapuram and the liquid oxygen storage facility also started functioning and were able to fill 521 oxygen cylinders from Thiruvananthapuram and Kollam districts, Mr. Venugopal said.

Anand Oxygen India Private Limited, a company at West Hill in Kozhikode, was advised to amend its PESO licence for an additional 20 kilolitre of liquid medical oxygen and 30 oxygen filling points to cater to the demand for medical oxygen from the district.

Mr. Venugopal said PESO had also approved a 970-metre gaseous oxygen line from the BPCL Kochi Refinery to the 500-bed CFLTC (COVID First Line Treatment Centre) being set up at the Kochi Refinery school at Jawlagiri, Ambalamugal, in Ernakulam. “This oxygen line will supply 93% pure oxygen from the refinery’s VPSI unit. The requirement of medical oxygen will be approximately 150 kg/hr for 100 patients at the rate 15 lpm (litre per minute) per patient,” he said.

A new ASU plant owned by Auxillium Products LLP at Kizhakkancherry in Palakkad will start functioning in a week’s time. The plant can produce 235 litre of high purity liquid oxygen per hour besides high purity medical gases in cylinders at the rate of 260 metre cube per hour. A total of 700 cylinders of seven cubic metre can be filled here daily, Mr. Venugopal added.

PESO has requested hospitals to use medical oxygen cylinders and admit non-COVID patients only in case of emergency. The agency has also asked them to install PSA (Pressure Swing Absorption) systems to become self-sufficient in oxygen production.

An oxygen generator separates oxygen from compressed air through a process called PSA. It is a method of generating enriched oxygen from ambient air.

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